The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers are one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports.
For years, fans of both teams have had heated discussions, twitter wars and made bets of all sorts.
There has also been some tragic events that have involved the deaths of fans on both sides because of the actions of the other team’s fans.
Most every Giants fan knows Bryan Stow and his remarkable and courageous story of fighting back after a senseless beating at the hands of two men who happened to be wearing Dodgers gear. There only reason to attack him was the fact he was wearing a Giants jersey.
Violence is the worst of us and Stow has rededicated his life to creating awareness about what happened and why bullying is never the right decision.
At the time, Giants relief pitcher Jeremy Affeldt and Dodgers infielder Jamey Carroll, who were teammates in Colorado, came together with their teammates behind them to speak to the fans about the troubling reality of the attack against Stow.
Tim Flannery and his Love Harder Project have spent countless hours with the Stows and performed at several benefit concerts to help spread his message of love and raise money for the Bryan Stow Foundation.
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Last month the Buffalo Bills were watching the Cincinnati Bengals play the Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens were favored to win the game and were up three in the final seconds. Andy Dalton, the Bengals quarterback, threw a touchdown pass on fourth down to send every Bills fan into hysteria as their 17 year playoff drought was over.
Fans were so excited and overwhelmed by the moment, a flood of donations were sent to Dalton’s charitable foundation, the Andy and Jordan Dalton Foundation, over the next 24 hours.
Fast forward to last week, and the Jacksonville Jaguars were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Divisional Round. After another improbable win, this time by Jacksonville, Bengals fans started sending money to Blake Bortles’ Charitable Foundation, BB5. Bortles, the quarterback of the Jaguars, had beaten the Bengals bitter rival, and as a way of paying it forward, their fans decided to return the favor started by the Bills and their fans.
This is an idea that must become a trend. We have seen the worst happen when fans of different teams attack each other with violence.
We have now seen fans donate to charity as a way of enjoying a rival team’s loss. This can become a way to help so many in so many different ways.
The Dodgers have become a juggernaut and they have set themselves up to have success for years to come. The Giants have just come off a season where they lost 98 games. Last year could not have seen the two teams any further apart. Yet, fans on both sides did not let that stop them from twitter beefs. As the Dodgers reached Game 7 of the World Series, Giants fans had suddenly became the biggest Houston Astros fans outside of Texas.
After the Astros won, the Giants fanbase that cheered that their bitter rivals lost could have put that energy into researching what charities are run by some of the heroes of that Series.
George Springer, the World Series MVP, has the George Springer Kids Fund, a foundation helping kids who stutter. American League MVP Jose Altuve, who has followed in the footsteps of former Giants and fellow Venezuelans Omar Vizquel and Marco Scutaro, continues to work with the Houston community today.
Future Hall of Famer and Puerto Rico native Carlos Beltran led a campaign to help aid his home country after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. The Lance McCullers Jr. Foundation helps with pet adoption.
No matter what cause may be close to your heart and no matter what team you root for, this could be the kind of thing that could change the conversation with rivalries and help communities around the world at the same time.